- Rio Tinto to add solar plant to its Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada with 6,600 bifacial solar panels
- The solar plant will come alongside 55.4 MW operational diesel and wind hybrid facility
- It will account for up to 25% of the mine’s electricity during closure work that will run until 2029
Anglo-American metals and minerals miner Rio Tinto will add a solar PV facility with bifacial solar panels to power Canada’s largest diamond producing mine, the Diavik Diamond Mine, saying it will be the ‘largest’ solar power plant across Canada’s territories. The solar project is backed by the Canadian government’s Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit of CAD 600,000 ($446,472).
Additionally, the Government of the Northwest Territories is also supporting the solar power plant with CAD 3.3 million ($2.46 million) through its Large Emitters GHG Reducing Investment Grant Program. It is the 1st project to be funded under this program, according to the miner.
The mine produces 3.5 million to 4.5 million carats of rough diamonds every year.
The bifacial solar plant with more than 6,600 solar panels will generate close to 4,200 MWh of clean energy annually, sufficient for it to account for up to 25% of the mine’s electricity during closure work that will run until 2029, with commercial production from the operation expected to end in early 2026.
It will come alongside already operational 55.4 MW diesel and wind hybrid facility that currently powers the Diavik in the cold climate of North Slave region of Canada.
Construction for the solar project is expected to begin soon with commercial operations due in H1/2024.
“Through its wind-diesel hybrid power facility, Diavik is already a leader in cold climate renewable technology and this important project reinforces our dedication to reducing our carbon footprint,” said Diavik Diamond Mine’s President and COO, Angela Bigg.
To meet its net zero target across all operations by 2050, Rio Tinto is adding renewables to its other locations, including in Australia where it plans to develop around 6 GW of wind and solar capacity for its local operations (see Rio Tinto’s $7.5 Billion Decarbonization Plans).